Top Reasons to Move to Montgomery County, MD
Montgomery County is the most populous county in Maryland, as well as one of the most affluent places in the US. Similar to other suburban Washington D.C. counties, Montgomery County is home to numerous scientific research and educational centers, important US government offices, and business schools. This makes existing and new homes in Montgomery County, MD highly prized.
Montgomery County’s history spans more than 300 years. It was first settled by English, Irish, and Welsh colonizers in the 1600s, and was named after the Irish soldier Richard Montgomery, who rose to become a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. It has the distinction of being one of the first counties that weren’t named after British people or places.
Since 1976, the county’s motto has been “Gardez Bien,” which means “Watch Well” – the historical slogan of the Montgomery Family. The county is also fondly known as “MoCo.”
An overview of the Montgomery County real estate market
Montgomery County is home to some of the most desirable communities in the entire United States, where culture and history blend seamlessly with modern amenities and robust economic opportunities. As a result, home values here have been consistently appreciating, increasing over 200% in the last ten years.
As of July, 2022, the median home value in Montgomery County was $570,000, higher than the Maryland median value of $399,000 and the national median value of $439,4000. Property is clearly a worthwhile investment in this area. The gross median rent is $1,784, which is more or less at par with the state median of $1,798 and slightly lower than the national median of $2,495.
Starting June, 2022, residential property prices have been seeing a decline while rental prices have been increasing, making it a good time to invest in new homes in Montgomery County, MD. While the county remains a hot seller’s market, competition has not been as tight as in previous months, giving homebuyers more chances of owning a home under more buyer-friendly conditions.
Here’s a closer look at what you can expect from this highly sought-after real estate market.
Montgomery County lies next to Washington, D.C. It is part of the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria, DC–VA–MD–WV metropolitan statistical area. Most of Montgomery County’s residents live in unincorporated places, including the urban areas of Bethesda and Silver Spring. However, Montgomery County also includes the incorporated cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville, both of which have large populations.
According to a recent report by Niche.com, 18 of the top 25 places to live in Maryland can be found in Montgomery County. To come up with its list, Niche considered important factors such as cost of living, higher education rate, home values, diversity, and crime and safety.
If you’re looking for new homes in Montgomery County, MD, you should definitely check out some of the best Montgomery County neighborhoods.
- North Potomac
Residents love this walkable neighborhood and its active Homeowner’s Association (HOA). North Potomac has an abundance of parks, coffee shops, and restaurants, as well as highly rated public schools. Around 83% of North Potomac residents own their own homes and the median home value is $945,000 as of July, 2022.
- South Kensington
South Kensington is another highly rated neighborhood in Montgomery County. Like North Potomac, it has numerous parks, coffee shops, and restaurants, as well as a buzzing nightlife with plenty of bars. Public schools are also highly rated in this area. Around 87% of South Kensington residents own their home homes, and the median home value as of July, 2022 was $1.2 million.
- North Bethesda
North Bethesda residents love their neighborhood’s urban feel and its proximity to Washington DC, Rock Creek Park, and Bethesda. This neighborhood also receives raves for its safety and diverse mix of residents. Many young professionals are happy to call this suburb home. Unlike North Potomac and South Kensington, majority of North Bethesda residents rent their homes. Median home value in this area is $601,000 as of July, 2022.
If you want to feel like you’re living in a small village in the midst of bustling Maryland, Potomac is the area for you. Residents rave about the village center where you can find everything you need, such as a grocery store, drug store, and even a Starbucks. Potomac’s convenient amenities make it a popular location for retirees. Approximately 86% of residents own their own owns and the median home value in this area is $1.4 million.
This neighborhood has been described a walker’s paradise by its residents due to its accessibility and proximity to the Metro. People who love an accessible urban setting, including families and retirees, have flocked to Bethesda. Like all of the best Montgomery County neighborhoods, Bethesda has top-notch public schools and many coffee shops, restaurants, and parks. About 67% of Bethesda residents own their own homes and the median home value in this area is $1.2 million.
Montgomery County has a number of downtown centers, including the following:
- Rockville Town Square
If you’re looking for a good mix of public services, retail stores, and restaurants, head to Rockville Town Square, which spans 12.5 acres in the middle of Rockville. It’s home to the Rockville Town Square ice rink, the biggest outdoor ice skating rink located in Montgomery County. This is definitely a must-see winter attraction. During the summer, catch local bands every Friday night at the Friday Night Live outdoor concert series.
- Downtown Silver Spring
For numerous restaurant options, get off at the Silver Spring MARC station and walk two blocks until you reach Downtown Silver Spring. This area is home to excellent restaurants such as the Japanese place Masa Hibachi, the salad stop sweetgreen, as well as the popular Chick-fil-A and Nando’s Peri-Peri. After lunch, you can catch a movie at the Regal Majestic Theater or shop til you drop at H&M, LOFT, and Designer Shoe Warehouse. Jazz enthusiasts look forward to the Silver Spring Jazz Festival located at Downtown Silver Spring every year.
- Pike & Rose
Even though it only opened in Northern Bethesda in 2014, Pike & Rose has since become a beloved weekend and evening destination. Those in the know have drinks at City Perch, which features comfort food and cocktails. They can also have a California-inspired meal and some vino at Summer House Santa Monica. If you want to watch a movie on a plush reclining chair, complete with a pillow and blanket, iPic Theaters has got you covered. If you still aren’t ready for your night to end, go to Pinstripes for some bocce and bowling accompanied by Italian and American food.
- Rio Lakefront
Craving for some water time? Head to Rio Lakefront in Gaithersburg, MD, where you can walk around the board walk, dine, and shop. Built around a small lake, this downtown center also features the AMC Loews Rio Cinemas. For excellent Mexican food, order the sizzling fajitas at Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant. Head to Copper Canyon Grill for tasty American dishes. Summer is when Pike & Rose comes alive, where numerous outdoor concerts are held on the boardwalk and kids flock to the waterfront carousel.
- Bethesda Row
Bethesda Row can be found at the intersection of Arlington Road and Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda, MD. This downtown center is a mecca for those looking for the finest amenities in the area, including fitness centers, shops, restaurants, and other recreational destinations. The shops and services here include a Williams-Sonoma, an Apple Store, lululemon, sweetgreen, and Anthropologie & Co. You can also catch a movie at the Landmark Theatre. Bethesda Row also features a conveniently located office and residential community called Upstairs at Bethesda Row.
Montgomery County has a robust public transportation system. You can go almost anywhere using the RIDE ON and Metrobus routes and various Metro stations. RIDE ON and Metrobus routes span Montgomery County from the Frederick County line in the north, Prince Georges County in the east, and the District line in the south.
Montgomery County also has 13 Metro stations:
- Forest Glen
- Friendship Heights
- Medical Center
- Shady Grove
- Silver Spring
- White Flint
If you don’t own a car and don’t plan to buy one, make sure that the property you’re looking at is near a bus stop or Metro station.
- Great Falls
You’ll find the Great Falls on the border of Montgomery County and Fairfax County, Virginia. Bask in the scenic views and enjoy whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, and rock climbing. You can also go on a self-guided waterfall hiking tour.
- Brookside Gardens
These 50 acre attraction is an award-winning public display garden inside Wheaton Regional Park. There’s something for everyone, including an Aquatic Garden, Japanese Style Garden, and the Formal Gardens, which are divided into the Perennial Garden, Maple Terrace, Yew Garden, and Fragrance Garden. Admission to the Brookside Gardens is free and it’s open from sunrise to sunset. Come here to rest, relax, or take an invigorating walk.
- Glen Echo Park
Located in Bethesda, Glen Echo Park is home to a number of artists, educators, dancers, and other performers who are pleased to share their craft with visitors. This sprawling park contains an aquarium, gallery, and carousel, as well as playground and picnic areas. It’s also a popular location for birthday parties. Glen Echo Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. In case of inclement weather, check the park’s website for adjusted opening hours.
- Seneca Creek State Park
Seneca Creek State Park spans 6,300 acres and includes 14 miles of Seneca Creek. Its most well-known attractions include the Clopper Day-Use Area. You can picnic at the 90-acre Clopper Lake or rent a boat. Note that swimming and wading are prohibited at this lake. If you want to wade, go to the Great Seneca Creek, which can also be found within the park.
You can also wander through the surrounding forests and fields. History buffs should be sure to check out the self-guided path and a restored 19th-century cabin.
If that isn’t enough, Seneca Creek State Park also contains over 50 miles of trails where you can hike, ride horses, and bicycle.
- Black Hill Regional Park
Black Hill Regional Park is smaller than Seneca Creek State Park but no less spectacular. It has over 2,000 acres for outdoor recreation and family reunions. Come for the stunning view of Little Seneca Lake and stay for a picnic or volleyball game. There are five large picnic shelters that can fit up to 100 people. Each picnic shelter has 10 picnic tables and two grills.
You can also rent a kayak, a canoe, or rowboat from Black Hill Boats or hike along the Black Hill Water Trail. There is also a playground for your kids to enjoy. Avid fishermen can catch largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie from the fishing pier.
The Black Hill Nature Programs at the visitor’s center will let you learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystems.
Real estate and homes for sale in Montgomery County, MD
There’s a wide range of homes in Montgomery County. Single-family homes dominate the housing stock but townhomes and condos are also widely available.
Single-family homes and townhomes range in size from around 800 square feet to over 27,000 square feet. Condo sizes are also widely varied, from approximately 600 square feet to over 3,000 square feet.
Prices are also widely varied. On the more affordable end, you can buy a 1,200-square-foot three-bedroom house with one and a half bathrooms in Takoma Park for $190,000 or a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house for $320,000 in Silver Spring.
Upscale real estate properties are also abundant in Montgomery County, particularly in Potomac, Bethesda, and Chevy Chase, where you can find the most numbers of luxury homes. Home prices in these communities can go well over $2 million, some going for more than $10 million.
High end homes in Montgomery County include expansive estates with lot sizes of one acre or more. They come in a wide range of architectural styles, including Colonial, Tudor, and classic European, and boast distinctive details. There are quite a few historic homes including those that are more than a century old, which add to their prestige. But there is also a plethora of new homes in Montgomery County, built in the last five years or so. Newly-constructed family homes with four to seven bedrooms are very popular.
If you’re after a more contemporary lifestyle, the condos and townhomes in Montgomery County just might be the perfect fit for you. Making up a good portion of new homes in Montgomery County, higher end condos and townhomes come with floor areas that can rival that of single-family homes, and boast upscale finishes and amenities that guarantee comfort and convenience.
Why now a good time to buy real estate in Montgomery County
With rising interest rates and increasing home inventory, buyers can look forward to a less competitive market, which means that sellers may be more open to negotiations and willing to shoulder a percentage of the buyers’ closing costs.
While Montgomery County is still a seller’s market, the National Association of Realtors say sellers received the highest average amount of offers (5.1) last April 2021. Today, buyers will still have to compete with other people for hot homes in Montgomery County, MD, both existing and new builds, but the competition is expected to be less fierce than last year.
However, don’t expect prices to go down soon, especially in popular Montgomery County communities. Zillow believes that there will be an 11% home value growth increase this year. Those buying second homes or vacation homes will also have to deal with increased demand and higher upfront fees.
Montgomery County is the top county in Maryland for home sales. This includes the Potomac, Clarksburg, and Germantown areas, as more people moved to suburban areas during the pandemic. Be ready to offer a competitive price if you want to buy a home in one of these neighborhoods.
Finally, expect to pay more if you want to build your new home in Montgomery County. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average price of newly built single-family homes increased by around $36,000 from 2020 to 2021.
Work with Judy Martin to find the perfect place in Montgomery County
With over 30 years of experience, Judy Martin is the best guide to navigating the complex real estate market in Montgomery County today. If you’re looking to move to Bethesda, Potomac, South Kensington or any other community in Montgomery County, Judy can help you buy the best property that matches your needs and preferences.
Judy is a consummate professional who is willing to go the extra mile to ensure your satisfaction and give you a seamless real estate experience. More than 50% of Judy’s clients are repeat business or referrals – a testament to her honesty, loyalty, and professionalism.
Give Judy a call today at [ai_phone href=”+1.301.379.1700″] 301.379.1700[/ai_phone] or send her an email at [mail_to email=”[email protected]”]this address[/mail_to].